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Your typical American Office? The Office Season 1 review

The Office US: a gloriously funny mockumentary, or just other knock off?

Even if you don’t work in mundane office, you can relate to the day to day drama of work life. Anything can happen when you combine a lack of productivity with unmotivated staff, and the Office US showcases this in all it’s sitcom glory.

The UK version, the original, kicked things off and got everybody accustomed to the show. People everywhere were keen to see how the US could establish their own version of the zany characters.

Some critics have claimed that the first season of the American version  was a lazy, cheap, knock off of the original and doesn’t start developing its own voice until deep into season 2. I can partially agree with that in terms of the similarities between Michael Scott (Steve Carell) and David Brent (Ricky Gervais), and some of the storylines, but I believe that the US version is able to stand on its own with its extended cast and relationship dynamics.

The Office US is a mockumentary style comedy show, like the UK original, centralised around the everyday going ons of the employees of Dunder Mifflin, a paper supply company, and their self-proclaimed “World’s Best Boss”, Michael Scott.

The first season only ran for 6 episodes, much the same as the UK version, and drew a lot of its comedy from the cast’s performances and the cringeworthy and at many times uncomfortably awkward scenes involving, most of the time, Michael.

Michael, for the most part of the first season, tries to keep his troops motivated and unfazed by the potential downsizing of their branch. His attempts though, often lead him to seem quite insensitive, intolerant and a lot of the time; idiotic.

The first seasons of each show provides vital detail and context that allows the characters to grow and mature at their desks. David Brent vs Michael Scott, Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer) vs Tim (Martin Freeman) and Dawn (Lucy Davis), the two shows may have the same characters, and the same relationships, but the differences in the US and Uk versions allow them the grow into different characters.

After watching both first seasons back to back, I have learnt a thing or two about what makes the US version so incredibly loved by many, and also what makes it differ from its roots.

17 years ago today The Office premiered. Thanks for everything Brentmeister General.

Posted by The Office UK Fans on Monday, 9 July 2018

The cast has a strong and unique relationship from the beginning, and it is a lot more obvious in the US version of the show that there is a connection between Jim and Pam, which people flock to. The UK version didn’t butter their audiences up with the Tim and Dawn storyline because the show was mainly about David Brent and his shenanigans. But the US version played on Jim and Pams relationship heavily. Whether it was to appeal to the ‘will they or wont they’ cliché or whether it was to add additional drama to the show, I don’t know, but like many fans around; I loved it.

The thing that really made the first season great, was the use of the mockumentary style of the show. The feeling of reality made it seem like you truly were experiencing everything with the gang. It felt like you were there during the basketball game in the warehouse or sitting in on the diversity day meeting.

On the whole I believe the first season of The Office US truly does stand on its own, in terms of characters and general feel of the show. The mockumentary style format of the show allows you to be right in the show being annoyed first hand by Michael Scott.

Score 8/10

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